23:2 He said, “On the seat of Moses sit the scribes and the pharisees:
23:3 Therefore, you must observe what they instruct you, but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
23:4 Because they will tie heavy and strenuous burdens upon others’ shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to move any of them.
23:5 But all their acts are done in order to be seen by others: They widen their phylacteries1 and lengthen the tassels on fringes of their robes.
23:6 And they like the places of honor at the feasts; and the important seats in the synagogues.
23:7 And in the markets they like being called ‘Teacher, teacher’ by others.
23:8 Yet don’t call yourselves ‘teacher’ because you have one Teacher – the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ] – and you are all brothers.
23:9 And call no one your ‘lord’ within this world; for you have one LORD – who is in the spiritual realm.
23:10 And don’t call yourselves ‘guides’ because you have one guide – the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ].
23:11 Rather, he who is your servant will be greatest among you.
23:12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
23:13 Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you lock out the sanctuary of the spiritual realm from people because you don’t enter in yourselves, nor do you allow others to enter.
23:15 Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you travel over land and sea to make one convert – and make him twice the child of hell that you are.
23:16 Woe to you, you blind guides, who say it is nothing to make a promise at the Temple but whoever makes a promise by the gold in the Temple is obligated.
23:17 Blind fools – which is greater, the gold or the Temple that sanctifies the gold?
23:18 And you say whoever makes a promise at the Altar of God shall have no obligation, but whoever promises with the offering that is upon it will be bound to that promise.
23:19 Blind fools – which is greater, the offering – or the Altar of God that sanctifies the offering?
23:20 Therefore, whoever makes a promise at the Altar of God is obligated by it and by everything upon it.
23:21 Therefore, whoever makes a promise in the Temple is obligated by it and everything that dwells in it.
23:22 And whoever makes a promise by the spiritual realm promises by the authority of God and by Him who dwells there.
23:23 Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you pay tithings of mint, anise and cumin yet have omitted the more important matters of the scriptures – judgment, mercy and faith: You should have done these things while not neglecting the other things.
23:24 Blind guides – you will filter out a gnat while you swallow a camel.
23:25 Woe to you scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate but within they are full of plundering and excess.
23:26 Blind pharisees, first clean what is within the cup and plate so that the outside of them will also be clean.
23:27 Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you are like the painted tombs, which surely appear beautiful on the outside, but within them are dead men’s bones and all sorts of unclean things.
23:28 Similarly, you also appear outwardly righteous to men but within you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
23:29 Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the Prophets and decorate the graves of the devoted.
23:30 And you say, ‘If we had been there in the times of our ancestors we would not have taken part in the bloodshed of the Prophets.’
23:31 Therefore you provide your testimony that you are the followers of those who murdered the Prophets.
23:32 Then accomplish what is appropriate for your ancestors.
23:33 You snakes – you culture of vipers – how can you escape the consequences of hell?
23:34 Therefore just see – I will be sending you prophets and sages and scribes whom you will kill and crucify – and you will insult them in your synagogues and persecute them from village to village.
23:35 So that you will have upon you the devoted blood shed upon the earth – from the blood of devoted Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Berekiah – whom you murdered between the Temple and the Altar.
23:36 Truly I say to you that all of this will come upon this society.
23:37 O Jerusalem – you have murdered the Prophets and stoned them who have been sent into you – how often would I have gathered your followers together just as a hen gathers her chicks under wings and you would not!
23:38 Look – your house has left you deserted.
23:39 For I say to you that you will not know me until you are saying, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the LORD.’”
1. Verse 23:5. Phylacteries were boxes worn on the head and arms – which contained portions of Scripture text.
2. Verse 23:14. This verse was added in later manuscripts and did not appear in early Greek manuscripts: “Woe to you, scribes and pharisees – hypocrites! For you forcibly appropriate widows’ households while you make long prayers in public: Therefore you will receive the greater consequence.”